Spiced Basmati Rice

Recipe for The Daring Kitchen
Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.
Rice, for being a finicky devil to prepare, has a few forgiving varieties that seem to come out perfectly with every pot. Maybe it’s just me and I am copacetic with specific grains, but for some reason, basmati never fails me. I’ve learned, though, to follow a few tricks to get it (in the words of Goldilocks) juuuuuuuuuuuust right.

Soaking your basmati before cooking is essential – let soak for 5 minutes and then rinse away the water and drain. This is essential for producing a fluffy pot of rice. Also, aromatics are key – cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, cloves and cumin seeds should all be invited to the party. Last but not least, and this goes for all rice in general, when you lock the lid for the cooking, don’t feel tempted to lift the lid until time is up. The rice becomes fluffy and sublime from the steam captured in the pot, and you’re taking a peek negates the entire process.

Recipe for

Spiced Basmati

2 c. of basmati rice
2 1/2 c. of water
1 tbs. of oil
1 tbs. of butter
1/2 an onion, chopped finely
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. of whole cloves
1 tsp. of ground black pepper
2 tsp. of cumin seeds
1 tsp. of salt
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. of whole allspice

Soak your basmati rice in enough water to cover by 1 inch. Let hang out for about 5 minutes and then pour into a sieve and rinse well. Set aside.

In a large pot (with a lid) heat the butter and oil. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add all remaining ingredients and cook until fragrant. Add the rice and the 2 1/2 c. of water and bring to a boil. Top with the lid and turn the heat to low. Let simmer for 15 minutes and then remove the lid. Fluff the rice, return the lid and let sit for another 2-3 minutes. Serve with chopped cilantro for garnish.